Totnes pothole that was so big, it became a TripAdvisor attraction fixed

If you’re looking for things to do in Totnes, the castle, the River Dart, and the historic high street might spring to mind.

But TripAdvisor has recently had other ideas, with a pothole in the Morrisons car park making its top 50!

This week, the pothole was fixed, and residents have been commenting on what a shabby job the council have done.

Discovery of the Pothole

In Totnes, Devon, a rather ordinary pothole near Morrisons supermarket began to attract extraordinary attention. 

Initially, it was just another nuisance on the road – it was known only for its size and the inconvenience it caused to drivers and pedestrians alike. 

But as the months passed and no repairs were made, the pothole gained some local notoriety! 

Residents of Totnes started sharing images and jokes about the pothole on social media, and it wasn’t long before the pothole became something of a local celebrity. 

Rise to fame 

Capitalising on this local buzz, a resident decided to list the pothole on TripAdvisor. 

On TripAdvisor, the pothole was listed under “geological formations” and “Points of interest and landmarks,” ranking it among the top 50 things to do in Totnes!

Then, the reviews poured in, each adding to the lore of what was now dubbed the “UK’s version of the Grand Canyon.” 

One reviewer claimed, “I took a group of friends here for a day out. It was a sight to behold. Arizona has the Grand Canyon, Australia has Uluru, and Zambia has the Victoria Falls, but Totnes has the Great Morrisons Pothole.” 

Another added, “Fantastic how over millions of years these beautiful craters in the earth form. I’ve seen canyons around the world and this has got to be my favorite so far! Brilliant day out, will be coming again.”

Community Campaign and Media Attention

The campaign to address the notorious pothole intensified as its fame spread. 

Local residents organised a Facebook campaign to try to fix the pothole.

Local media quickly picked up on the story, with regional news outlets, bloggers, and even national newspapers covering it. 

This media attention further amplified the pressure on local authorities to fix the pothole!

The Repair Job Controversy

Finally, yielding to public pressure and media spotlight, the local council announced plans to repair the infamous pothole. However, the completion of the repair sparked a new wave of controversy among the Totnes residents!

While the council had acted, the quality of the repair work left much to be desired. The pothole was hastily filled with what appeared to be a quick, superficial patch rather than a thorough, long-lasting fix.

Residents criticised the repair as a mere “PR exercise,” arguing it was done just to quell the media attention rather than solve the problem effectively. 

Matthew Jee, vocal in his disappointment, described the effort as “quick, cheap, and messy,” asserting that it was a waste of taxpayer funds. 

He pointed out that the repair did not include proper edging, leaving the new tarmac unlikely to withstand regular traffic for long. 

“They have not even dug out the edges to make sure the tarmac they poured will grip,” Jee explained.

Quirky Tourist Attractions in Devon and Cornwall

The story of the Totnes pothole is not an isolated incident in Devon and Cornwall – two similar “attractions” come to mind: The Rusty Pole in Exmouth and the Bude Tunnel. 

The Rusty Pole in Exmouth has become a minor cultural phenomenon, even appearing on Have I Got News For You. Originally just a weather-beaten pole on a grassy area behind the beach, it garnered attention for its stark and unadorned presence. 

Locals and visitors alike humorously glorified it in online reviews, with some even calling it a symbol of “industrial art.” 

But, it was taken down by South West Water in April 2023, and nowadays it’s whispered about as if it were folklore in the town!

The Bude Tunnel, a 70-meter long plastic-covered walkway at a supermarket, achieved unexpected fame when residents began reviewing it as if it were a significant tourist attraction. 

Praised for its “unique architectural style” and “shelter from the unpredictable Cornish weather,” the Bude Tunnel has soared into top place on TripAdvisor! 

Impact and Reactions Post-Repair

Following the repair of the pothole, the Totnes community continued to engage in discussions about the quality and effectiveness of local government responses to public issues. 

The repair, although initially seen as a victory for local activism, did not meet the community’s expectations for a durable solution. 

So, while the pothole itself was a small issue, it became a significant talking point for the town of Totnes – and the discussions are still ongoing!

If you want to see some of the actual top things to do in Totnes, take a look at my full guide here.

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